Turnips instead of heads

How did vegetables become the main attribute of Halloween?

Reading time 5 minutes

Saints’ Day Eve, better known as Halloween, is celebrated on the night of October 31 to November 1 in many countries around the world. Originally a pagan Celtic end-of-summer holiday, it became part of popular culture in the late 19th century when it spread across America. In Russia Halloween came in the 90’s, and although according to surveys only 3% of Russians celebrate it, many people have heard of Halloween in one form or another and are familiar with the traditions that accompany the holiday. In October, specialized decorations appear in shops and themed movies are in theaters.

A mask made for Halloween (Source: museum.ie)
A mask made for Halloween (Source: museum.ie)

One of the symbols of Halloween is the so-called «Jack lanterns» – lanterns carved from a pumpkin that resemble heads with scary faces. According to Irish legend, where the tradition originated, Miserly Jack was able to trick the devil twice by taking his word not to claim his soul after his death. But when Jack died, Heaven refused to accept him, and the Devil, because of his grudge and the promise he made, kept him from Hell, sending Jack wandering the earth with a smoldering fire that he had put into a carved gourd.

Turnip lantern (Source: fatherly.com)
Turnip lantern (Source: fatherly.com)

The legend served not only as an educational tale, but also helped explain the «wandering lights», a rare natural phenomenon observed on marshes and cemeteries at night. The flickering light, produced by the inflammation of gases from decomposing organic matter, often led travelers astray – if they started to follow it, they might fall into the mire and drown. The inhabitants of the time believed it to be the work of Stingy Jack, a lost soul trapped between two worlds.

Wandering lights (Source: lensculture)
Wandering lights (Source: lensculture)

To ward off Jack and other evil spirits entering the land on Halloween night, people began carving their own lanterns, and more often used large turnips, potatoes, radishes and beetroot instead of pumpkins. «Metal lanterns were quite expensive, so people carved root vegetables, – explains Nathan Mannion, senior curator at the EPIC Irish Emigration Museum in Dublin. – Over time, people began to carve faces and drawings so that light could pass through the holes without extinguishing the charcoal».

Although the tradition became widely known thanks to Halloween, Celts from northern Europe have been using round vegetables and fruit to represent human faces since pre-Christian times. There is speculation that this symbolized the severed heads of enemies appearing as spoils of war.

An exhibition of Halloween memorabilia at the National Museum of Ireland (Source: catholicphilly.com)
An exhibition of Halloween memorabilia at the National Museum of Ireland (Source: catholicphilly.com)

The carving of lanterns from root crops is only one aspect of the All Saints’ Eve celebrations which date back to ancient times, but many customs have been lost. Celtic priests built huge bonfires, practiced divination rituals and performed rites to keep evil spirits at bay – but because they kept no written records, little is known about these practices.

 

Nonexistent clothes

What is virtual clothing and why is it becoming popular?

Reading time 4 minutes

Imagine that you browse online stores in search of new clothes, and your eye involuntarily clings to a magnificent jacket. After a moment of thought, you decide to purchase it. But instead of ordering this jacket and getting it in your hands, you send one of your photos, and after a while you get it back. The only difference is that now you are depicted in a new jacket.

виртуальная одежда
The collection of virtual clothing by “Carlings”

This concept of digital clothing may seem strange, but it was based on games and applications. The users spend real money on their virtual character’s clothes and hairstyle. Thus, the profit of the game “Covet Fashion”, which allows players to try on designer clothes and accessories using digital visualization, amounted to $ 53.4 million for 2018.

The first collection of virtual clothing, which was released in November 2018 by “Carlings”, instantly gained popularity. “In real life”, says Kiki Person, a manager of Scandinavian company, “such designer clothes cost thousands of pounds and are worn only once —to be posted on social networks.”

виртуальная одежда
The collection of virtual clothing by “Carlings”

Digital clothing has received many positive reviews and has become a trend not only in Scandinavia. So, the influencer Daria Simonova was one of the first in the world to try on virtual trousers and a jacket. The girl noted that the concept was interesting and in line with modern trends.

“Firstly, it is eco-friendly, and secondly, clothing these days is more of an art on social networks. Virtual clothing is very convenient, and its design potential is huge, because it is cheaper to create.”

 Since 2018, digital clothing has spread throughout the world. In May 2019, a virtual dress was sold at a charity auction for £ 7,500. “In ten years, everyone will be wearing digital clothes”, says Mr. Ma, a buyer of this dress. “It’s definitely very expensive, but it’s a bit of an investment”, he added.

виртуальная одежда
The collection of virtual clothing by “Carlings”

There are also companies producing digital clothing in Russia. The “Грань” brand presented a collection that was advertised by Alyona Pole, a virtual model: “I experiment a lot with digital materials, because I believe that new fashion should be environmentally friendly and should not destroy the environment.”

 

 

Не судите по обёртке

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Reading time 3 minutes

Sorry, this entry is only available in Russian.

Муж, жена и два кота

Семейный сюр: коты лепят снеговиков и гуляют по Луне вместе со своими хозяевами

Reading time 3 minutes

Sorry, this entry is only available in Russian.

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Reading time 2 minutes

Sorry, this entry is only available in Russian.